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What is an Amazon Dash Button, and should you buy one?

amazon ramps up dash button integration explainer header
Between Prime Air, buying Whole Foods, and netting the rights to stream Thursday Night Football, there’s no doubt that Amazon’s ambitions go beyond its online storefront. Nonetheless, the company’s primary revenue still comes from shopping, meaning Amazon is always trying to come up with new and convenient ways to get its customers pumped about the prospect of shopping online. This is where the Amazon Dash Button comes in. The small, minimalist button was developed to entice people to shop on Amazon before anywhere else. Some are still unclear, though: What is an Amazon Dash Button?

The Dash Button is a small device that you can stick to virtually any surface in your home, and it lets you instantly order household items you’re about to run out of. For example, let’s say you have a Tide Dash Button placed somewhere near your washer or dryer. Once you’ve set up your Dash Button using the device’s accompanying mobile app, all you need to do is push the button and it will automatically order you your preferred detergent. The gum stick-sized device utilizes your home’s Wi-Fi network in order to do so.

From Charmin toilet paper to Red Bull energy drinks, there are hundreds of Dash Buttons available for $5 a pop. Moreover, you get $5 off your next Amazon purchase when you buy a Dash Button, which essentially makes the devices free. If you still have questions — like, what happens if I push the button 100 times in a row? — then you can visit Amazon’s helpful FAQ page.

In theory, the button sounds great, but the simple device is far from perfect, as outlined in our Amazon Dash Button review.

The first glaring problem is the pricing. You don’t have much control over how much you’re paying for any given product you’re buying when you push the button. One week, you might buy some stain-remover pens for $6 a piece, and the next week you might paying $8 for the same pens. You could’ve also probably gone to your local store and gotten that product on sale for $5. It’s a few bucks here and there, but if you’re using Dash Buttons every week, those dollars add up. And maybe you want to use Clorox instead of Tide? Then that means you have to repeat the process and order a Clorox Dash Button. You’re definitely sacrificing cost for convenience, but even if that’s what you’re looking for, Amazon still has better buying options than its Dash Buttons.

Instead of purchasing a Dash Button, you could purchase the Amazon Echo or Echo Show, both of which give you a lot more flexibility when it comes to making purchases. For a mere $20, you could also buy the recently-introduced Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa, which allows you to scan your home products and automatically add them to your Amazon shopping cart. The remote-shaped device can also reorder previously-purchased items, find recipes, make conversions, set timers, locate nearby restaurants, and carry out a host of other useful functions.

The Amazon Dash Button might be perfect for the homebody who knows exactly what they want, but for everyone else, there are plenty of other choices for you to choose from, even if that means you have to sacrifice a little bit of convenience or pay a bit more.

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CJ Garcia
Former Digital Trends Contributor
CJ loves reporting on the newest tech innovations and products, even though he still refuses to replace his iPhone 5. When…
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